5 Simple Solutions for Low-Light Spaces

Written by Cody

Sometimes our spaces just don’t live up to their potential, and oftentimes, the reason is poor lighting. Even the best decor can fall flat with bad light, and getting it right can really take a room from blah to wow.

Here are five lighting solutions to help you get the most out of each lumen you have to work with.

Don’t waste the light you already have

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Sometimes a space can have plenty of natural light, but still feel dark. Make the most of daylight’s offerings by ensuring you have no waste. One common mistake that affects the lighting in a room is taking a large window and framing it with a dark color. If you have a lot of light coming in, framing out that window with a dark drape or an accent wall will just create a portal effect. The contrast of light and dark effectively turns the light into glare.

To offset this effect, make sure you are using a lighter paint color to frame the light itself. If you are working with a darker color in the room, try an accent wall with a light color. If you are a fan of drapery—or just don’t want to have to paint—install curtains in a lighter color that complements the overall decor and softens the edges of the light coming in.

Spread light throughout large spaces

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Big rooms can be tough to light; it can take a lot to make sure every corner is accounted for. Portables like desk and floor lamps might be cozy for reading but have a limited throw of light, leaving the room at large feeling dark, especially when natural light is not an option.

Recessed lighting can be a great option for adding an even level of light throughout a space. Recessed lighting can be tricky and come off uncomfortable and unpleasant if misplaced or over-used. While general guides of spacing abound, there is no blanket rule. Check the details of the fixture you have selected and make sure to work with a lighting specialist to ensure proper placement.

Create “windows”

Image via. Taken by Elad Gonen.

You see this problem often in bedrooms and bathrooms. Sometimes you only get one window, which can make a room seem dark even during the day. While adding a window might be out of the budget, you can make magic with light and create one for yourself. A well placed mirror not only gets light further into the room, but also sends light in another direction, fooling the eye into thinking there is another light source.

Place a mirror at a 90-degree angle to the window to make the most of the light coming in, and to ensure that the light will bounce into the room and not right back out the window. Matching the mirror shape and size to the window in question helps strengthen the illusion as well.

Enhance architectural details

Image via. Project by Lux Lighting Design.

When lighting a room, make sure that you leave nothing on the table, especially when it comes to any cool architectural detailing that it may have. Double height spaces, open woodwork and other similar details can often eat up the available lighting, losing the very drama that the space was built for. Take advantage, and an impressive room can be taken to truly spectacular.

For example, open beams are a very impressive detail in a room. Uplights will help them to stand out in the space. Not only do they provide a gorgeous effect but the lighting will also wash the room. Consider the details of the space and see what will work best to bring the drama.

Lighten up (color)

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Humans are quite susceptible to color. While you may not subscribe to a full-on Easter color philosophy, it is important to pay attention to pigments when you space need some light. While deep, rich tones are on trend, they can spell doom and gloom for a room that already tends to the dark side. Darker colors absorb more light, so the deeper the tone the more lighting you lose.

But you don’t have to miss out on that cool color. Just tone it down to keep your space from closing in on you. For rooms that lack natural light, find the color that you like and de-saturate it. If you’re looking at a black, tone it down to a mid-tone grey instead. This will give you the look that you want without eating up all the light.

So next time you think your space is looking a little dim, see if any of these might be the culprit. A simple change can brighten things up in no time.

About the author



Cody Torgersrud is part of the sales team, which works directly with customers who call and email in. When not remodeling his 1950s bungalow, Cody enjoys refinishing vintage and antique furniture as well as binging on British TV.

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